Supplies Needed to Start a Nail Tech Business

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If you’re an entrepreneur at heart and have a passion for beauty, opening a nail technician business may be an ideal career choice. Even if you’re already licensed to do nails, you might be surprised at all that you’ll need to do to be ready to open a nail technician business. The cost to open a nail salon will depend on your location and the size of the business that you’re creating.

Develop a Business Plan

You may not consider a business plan to be a supply, but it’s the most important component when opening a nail salon. A business plan is an outline of your income goals, supplies needed and startup cost. You can use a business plan to guide your work and apply for funding. The sections that should be included in a standard business plan include:

  1. Executive Summary: Provide a short description of your nail technician business and why you feel it’s a good fit for the community.

  2. Mission, Goals and Objectives: Be specific as you list your individual goals for your business.

  3. Background Information: Discuss the industry and the potential for growth.

  4. Organization: Outline how your business will be structured (LLC, corporation, LLP, etc.)

  5. Marketing Plan: Detail how you’ll target prospective customers.

  6. Financial Plan: Discuss the amount of money that you’ll need and from where it will come.

  7. Balance Sheet: List your assets and liabilities, expected salary and other costs.

  8. Income Statement: Create a summary of the forecasted income.

  9. Cash Flow Statement: Discuss how money will flow in and out of your business.

  10. Inventory: Make a list of what you have and what you’ll need.

Be sure to have someone look over your business plan before you present it to prospective funding agencies.

Secure Capital for Your Nail Technician Business

Once your business plan is written, you’ll need to put together the capital necessary to buy the supplies for your nail technician business. If you’re seeking funding, take your plan to local banks and apply for loans. You can also ask people you know if they would like to invest in your startup. Finally, consider an online request for donations to help you fund your business.

Pick an Ideal Location

The first supply you’ll need is a location for your nail technician business. It’s possible to be a nail tech working from home, but if you’re planning on a larger staff, you may need a building or office space. Look for a location that’s visible and a landlord who will retrofit a space to meet your needs. You can also consider buying a space for long-term investment purposes.

Purchase Furniture for Your Business

Look at the space for your business and make a list of what you’ll need to furnish it. Start with the waiting room and then plot out the rest of the space for nail technology. You’ll also need to determine if you’ll be offering manicures and pedicures or specializing in just one service. A list of common furniture needed for a nail technician business includes:

  • Manicure stations
  • Nail technician stool
  • Customer chair
  • Waiting room chairs and tables
  • Reception desk
  • Pedicure chairs
  • Pedicure nail technician stool
  • Supply cabinets
  • Small supply drawer units for nail stations
  • Nail polish shelving
  • Product display units

Buy Equipment for Nail Technology

Nail technology equipment is essential for the specialized services that you’re offering. Your first purchase should be a nail drill and bits and an LED UV nail lamp. You’ll also need a cash register, washer, dryer, towel heater, nail drying station, phone and lamps. Consider buying gently used equipment to save money or rent your equipment until the business is off and running.

Buy Manicure Supplies

Given the intricacy of a nail technician business, you’ll need a large stock of manicure and pedicure supplies. A wide variety of nail polish will offer your clients creative choices for their manicure or pedicure. Other items that you’ll need include:

  • Nail buffers
  • Cuticle pushers
  • Gel liquid
  • Nail scissors
  • Disinfectant
  • Acrylic powder and monomer
  • Gel powder
  • Dip powders
  • Base and top coat polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Nail tips
  • Nail glue
  • Acrylic brushes
  • Gel brushes
  • Nail forms
  • Nail tips
  • Lotion
  • Towels
  • Cuticle oil
  • Manicure bowl
  • Bond aid

It can be challenging to know how much you will need to open your nail technology business, so keep a close eye on the inventory. You won’t want to run out when business is booming.

Don’t Forget Pedicure Supplies

If you’re planning to round out your nail technician business by offering pedicures, you’ll need special supplies. Determine the amount that you’ll purchase by the number of pedicure chairs in your salon. A list of supplies to buy includes:

  • Disposable flip-flops
  • Toe separators
  • Pedicure foot file
  • Pedicure chair
  • Callous remover
  • Foot scrub
  • Towels

If you decide to offer gel polish for pedicures, you can use your LED/UV light from your manicures for pedicures. Just be sure to sanitize the units between uses.

Obtain Insurance and Licensing Permits

Licensing requirements for nail technology specialists vary by state. You may need to have a certificate from a licensed beauty school or work as an apprentice for a specified time period. Often, continuing education credits must be completed to maintain your license. Finally, be sure to purchase general liability insurance to protect your business.

Hire Nail Technicians and Staff

Staff for your business may not seem like a supply, but you may not be able to run your business alone. If you’re a nail tech working from home, you won’t need other employees. A larger business may require _several nail technician_s to meet the needs of your customers. Consider who will clean your business, answer phones, restock supplies and do laundry when you’re determining your staffing needs.

Choose Special Uniforms

You can create a professional look for your staff by purchasing branded uniforms. Choose a smock or shirt that best represents the vibe that you’re trying to create. Align the color of your uniform with the branding of your salon. You’ll want to have more than one uniform per technician so that you don’t have to do laundry every day.

Offer Retail Items

The final decision that you’ll need to make is if you’re going to offer retail products for your customers to purchase. If you decide to sell products, consider the display units that will be necessary to entice customer purchases. You’ll also want to encourage your staff to use suggestive selling techniques with customers. A few suggestions for retail products to sell include:

  • Nail files
  • Nail polish
  • Gel polish
  • Nail art
  • Nail jewelry
  • Home manicure sets
  • Branded T-shirts
  • Nail polish remover

Consider Offering Special Services

You can increase your nail technician profit by providing add-on services for your clients. If your employees have special artistic abilities, entice customers to add art to their nails. Purchase nail displays that demonstrate special art or jewelry that can be added to a manicure or pedicure service.

Supplies for Customer Service

Create a relaxing retreat for your clients by providing a pampered environment for their salon experience. Buy magazine subscriptions, a water cooler and massage chairs to create the total spa environment. You can also install televisions so that your clients have something to watch while having their nails done professionally.


About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years. She has numerous publications with Talico, Inc., DynaTEAM Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.